A QUICK glance at Guisborough Town’s results for the season so far reveals just how much the Priorymen have progressed since early season when they suffered some nightmarish results.

Back in September Guisborough were thrashed 7-1 in an FA Vase tie at Ryhope CW.

Guisborough went a long way to erasing that painful memory when last Saturday, they clawed their way to a 2-1 victory which all but statistically preserves their Division One status for another season.

Playing their fourth game in only eight days, Guisborough looked understandably a bit jaded in the first half – no doubt their massive efforts against Shildon in midweek having an impact on their general energy levels, along with a hot April afternoon. Ryhope held the ascendency for most of the first half and only a combination of bad luck and some fine goalkeeping from Guisborough ‘keeper Jordan Nixon kept the scoreline blank as the half-time whistle sounded.

The closest Ryhope came was in the 37th minute when a pile-driver of a shot from James Ellis smashed against the Guisborough cross bar and Nixon pulled off a brilliant save from Joe Melvin’s follow-up shot. Guisborough also went near to scoring themselves in the 20th minute but David Onions – once again coming out of retirement to help the Priorymen’s cause – saw his header go agonisingly wide of the far post.

In the second half Guisborough came much more into it as an attacking force and the introduction of substitutes Nathan Steel, John Seaton and Tom Bligh added fresh legs and more bite to Guisborough’s forward play. Steel and McNeill both went close to breaking the deadlock before a Guisborough corner in the 82nd minute resulted in a goalmouth scramble in which a Steel header was turned in by Guisborough defender Lee Bythway – not the first time he has scored vital goals at the right time for the Priorymen.

Then just two minutes later came the goal of the game and how richly it was deserved by McNeill for all his unselfish running up front. Steel sprung the Ryhope offside trap with a great ball through to McNeill who took a few strides forward before unleashing a fierce shot which arrowed like a guided missile into the bottom right hand corner for 2-0.

In stoppage time Ryhope got some consolation when they were awarded a penalty and Micky Rae despatched the spot kick with ease, but the referee’s final whistle sounded soon after and Guisborough had their third win in four games and another precious three points in the bag.

Guisborough Manager Gary Forster was understandably delighted with the result, commenting, “I was over the moon with today’s result. I actually thought this was going to be our toughest test of the week. We had had three tough games and we knew we were up against a very good side in Ryhope CW, who are full of running and have more than just a little quality.”

“In the first half they give us more of a run around then anyone has done all season. Because of injuries to some key players, we had to make a few tweaks to the way we were set up. I thought we deserved to grab a goal so to get two was a real bonus which clinched a very hard-earned victory for us.”

Tomorrow Guisborough are away at to Sunderland RCA, kick-off 3pm, and on Wednesday are away to local rivals Marske United, kick-off 7.45pm.